Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Accidents involving commercial vehicles account for more than 5,000 fatalities and more than 100,000 injuries nationwide each year. These crashes usually occur with little warning and can result in serious and catastrophic consequences for victims. Being involved in a commercial truck accident leaves victims and family members wondering what their legal rights and options are. Fortunately, there is legal help available in all 50 states following a commercial truck accident. In order for injured victims and family members to recover, the cause of the accident must first be determined.

There are many possible causes for a truck crash and deciding on a cause can be a difficult and lengthy process. When you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, it is important to speak with an attorney about your legal rights as soon as possible. In this article, we will look at several common causes of truck accidents and how they can affect innocent victims.

As always, if you believe you may have a case, you should reach out to an attorney for advice. At Burg Simpson, our national truck accident attorneys are standing by to help during your time of need.

Truck Driver Negligence

The most common legal concept associated with traffic accidents is negligence. In legal terms, negligence means acting below the standard of a reasonable person. In a truck accident case, the reasonable person standard means how a reasonable truck driver would have acted under the circumstances. If the driver’s conduct falls below the reasonable person standard and leads to an accident, they can be held legally responsible for the resulting injuries.

Negligence and Causes of Truck Accidents  Common Causes of Truck Accidents

A thorough investigation will be conducted following a truck accident. The goal of this investigation is to determine how the accident took place and who should be held responsible. Initially, law enforcement will handle the investigation. Trained detectives and crash reconstructionists will document the scene. This includes taking photographs and measurements, and speaking with witnesses. After documentation occurs, a report will be made on the most likely cause of the collision. This report can then be used by others in deciding how to legally proceed following a truck accident.

There are several common or recurring causes of truck accidents, including:

  • Fatigue: Truck drivers spend hours on the road at a time, often covering hundreds of miles in each shift. Although federal drive time regulations are in place to limit the amount of hours driven, these regulations are not always followed, leading to dangerously fatigued truck drivers. A fatigued or drowsy driver has a slower reaction time, which leads to a greater chance of serious injury crashes.
  • Impairment:  Truckers who travel long distances and work long hours may need to take drugs or use alcohol in an effort to stimulate their body. Drugs and alcohol may be abused because they make the truck driver feel more awake and alert. Unfortunately, they also reduce the driver’s mental and physical faculties, leaving them operating an extremely large and dangerous commercial vehicle while under the influence.
  • Distraction:  Conditions on the road can change at a moment’s notice. Truck drivers who fail to pay attention to their surroundings and who are distracted by cell phones or other objects are at greater risk of causing a serious accident. Even a moment of distraction can lead to a catastrophic collision.
  • Inexperience: Driving a commercial vehicle is much different than operating a car or a smaller passenger vehicle. Drivers should be required to undergo many hours of formal training before they get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, some companies are content to cut corners and reduce the amount of training before putting an inexperienced truck driver behind the wheel.
  • Unsecured Cargo: When fully loaded, a semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The cargo load of a truck must be distributed in such a way that it balances across the truck’s axles. If the cargo weight is improperly distributed, the resulting cargo shift can lead to a serious crash involving a rollover or loss of control.
  • Mechanical Failure: One common but often overlooked cause of truck accidents is mechanical failure. There are federal guidelines requiring routine maintenance and truck inspection. Failure to follow these guidelines can lead to mechanical breakdowns that in turn can cause an accident to happen.
  • Road and Weather Conditions: Truckers must deal with severe weather conditions including rain, wind, sleet, fog, and snow to name a few. These conditions can also interfere with driving. When a trucker experiences hazardous weather conditions, they are more likely to make a mistake leading to a major collision.
  • Reckless Driving: Other types of careless driving such as speeding, failing to yield, and failing to stop at stop lights or stop signs can also cause a serious crash.

National Truck Accident Lawyers

It is not uncommon for truck accident damages to be well into six figures. In cases of fatal crashes, the number can be even higher. Having an accurate and realistic picture of your case, along with its strengths and weaknesses, is an extremely important piece of information for victims in order to make decisions about their cases. The availability of damages is a key consideration and can be used to leverage a favorable settlement in appropriate cases. However, the cause of the crash must first be determined through a careful and thorough investigation. Before making any decisions, you should speak with an attorney at the soonest possible time. Due to the statute of limitations, you may only have a short time in which to act.

Here at Burg Simpson, our national truck accident lawyers are here for you during your time of need. We will ensure that you receive the benefit of all potential damages in your case. We provide free consultations for all potential clients. Our firm handles most cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there is no financial obligation until we obtain a recovery on your behalf. To schedule your time to speak with one of our attorneys, please reach out to us using our online intake form or give us a call at (866) 696-1750.

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